Super Mario RPG’s Lost Pop Culture Obsessed Enemies

A fascinating history comes to light!

By Angela Marrujo Fornaca. Posted 02/26/2019 06:15 Comment on this     ShareThis

Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars has a wonderfully colorful cast of heroes and enemies alike, brought to life by the game’s quirky humor and writing. One of these unique characters is your party member, Mallow, who has the ability to read enemies’ thoughts using the move “Watcha Thinking?” in the Japanese version of the game, or “Psychopath” in the English version.

The messages that pop up are rife with pop culture references in the Japanese version, especially from anime, manga, and music from the 80s and 90s, but due to localization’s lack of familiarity with many of these references and the decision to make the messages more relatable to western audiences, most of these nods were changed and lost in the English version. Thankfully, the team at Legends of Localization has been able to finally explain the original background behind some of them.

Here are some examples:

Pachīru or Crook (who always reminded me of Marvin the Martian) says, “Mustn’t run away… Mustn’t run away…” which is paying homage to a very famous scene in the first episode of Neon Genesis Evangelion, in which Shinji tells himself repeatedly that he mustn’t run away.

In the English version, this was changed to say, “You can’t run away! Ha!” though I’m actually not sure if Crook is, indeed, an enemy that you can’t flee from…

Dosokī Yung or Guerilla bears a striking resemblance to Donkey Kong (and definitely wasn’t lost on me as a kid), and even the characters in his Japanese name spell out a name that’s suspiciously similar to “Donkey Kong,” or Donkī Kongu in Japanese. The joke is carried on through his thoughts, which is a legal disclaimer stating, “This character has no relation to any persons, living or dead. Any resemblance is purely coincidental.”

Due to character limit restrictions, the legal disclaimer was replaced with, “Don’t confuse me with someone else!” in the English version, and the name Guerilla (rather than Gorilla) was used to further drive home the idea that this is a bootleg version of Donkey Kong.

In the two-part battle with Dragon Zombie or Zombone, it falls into a pit of lava and reemerges as a skeleton dragon. Its message reads, “Not yet. I’m not dead yet,” which is in reference to a line from Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam that reads, “Not yet! I’m not done yet!”

Similar to how Zombone should be dead after falling into the lava but is still alive, this character in the anime takes a heavy amount of damage in a fight and is still somehow alive and fighting. While it’s possible that the word “dead” was removed from this line to adhere to Nintendo of America’s content policies, the change actually makes the English version of the line closer to the original Gundam quote.

These examples are merely the tip of the iceberg of the crazy amount of Japanese pop culture references found in Super Mario RPG; you can find more at the link below! For years, I wondered why some of these messages just seemed flat out strange and unrelated to the enemies, so it’s great to now have an explanation for the history behind the changes and what those characters originally said in the Japanese version of the game.

Source: Legends of Localization

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